One night after being sent down to Norfolk, right-hander Josh Stinson started for the Tides on Friday against Charlotte.
Stinson pitched into the sixth inning, but he was removed after walking the first batter of the inning. He finished with one run on four hits and two walks in five innings with five strikeouts.
Showalter said he wants the 25-year-old to keep pitching on his usual days and not sit around in the Orioles bullpen waiting for an opportunity. Stinson posted three straight quality starts for the Tides, including allowing one unearned run on three hits over seven innings at Charlotte on July 6 in his final start before his Wednesday call-up.
“We want to keep Stinson on turn and not let him get too far from having the ball in his hand,” Showalter said. “He's coming off two or three good starts, and we don't want him sitting around up here.”
Roberts leading off
Second baseman Brian Roberts batted leadoff for the Orioles on Friday night against Toronto left-hander Mark Buerhle, his first appearance in that slot since July 1, 2012, his final game before missing the rest of the season with injury.
While Roberts entered the game batting only .200 against left-handers, he owned a .302 average with one home run and three RBIs in 43 at-bats against Buehrle, who was 5-5 with a 4.50 ERA.
“It's just a better matchup for us,” Showalter said. “You're talking about a team that's been carrying eight [relief] pitchers for a while, four right and four left. I'm sure they and we feel like we're always capable of pitching nine innings, but it presents the best challenge to their type of bullpen. Also, to be able to spread certain things out and give them different looks.”
Previously, right fielder Nick Markakis had batted leadoff against lefties, but with Roberts hitting first, Markakis slid back to his typical third spot ahead of center fielder Adam Jones and first baseman Chris Davis.
Roberts had batted fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth this season. He batted leadoff in all 17 of his games last season.
“He's done it before,” Showalter said. “It's not some new territory for him. It's a better fit for us tonight. We'll see what tomorrow brings.”
The Major League Baseball first-year player draft signing deadline came and went Friday at 5 p.m., and the Orioles held steady with their moves after inking high school left-hander Danny Ayers on Thursday. The Orioles ended up signing 32 of their 41 draft picks, including 19 of their first 21. The only picks in that span to not sign were their 15th-round pick, high school infielder Tyler Walsh, and their 18th-round pick, college right-hander Reed Reilly.
The Orioles have signed 20 of their 21 top-10 round picks in the past two years, failing to sign only left-hander Colin Poche, their fifth-round pick in 2012 who decided to pitch for Arkansas.
Minor league trade
The Orioles acquired minor league right-hander Tim Alderson from the Pittsburgh Pirates for infielder Russ Canzler on Friday. The 24-year-old Alderson, a former first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2007, was 3-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 22 appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Canzler, who was hitting .276 in 86 games with Norfolk, was designated for assignment July 6 after the Orioles acquired infielder Alex Liddi from the Seattle Mariners.
AROUND THE HORN
Outfielder-designated hitter Chris Dickerson's shoulder is healing well, and he should avoid the disabled list, Showalter said. … Right-hander Jason Hammel is scheduled to start Saturday. He's 7-5 with a 5.03 ERA this season, and he's 4-1 with a 3.59 ERA in nine career starts against the Blue Jays. He earned a no-decision in his June 21 start against Toronto when he allowed four runs on four hits over six innings. … According to STATS, Davis is the only player in baseball history to have at least 25 doubles, 30 home runs and 85 RBIs before the All-Star game . … Davis' 86 RBIs entering Friday night's game would have led 17 teams in Orioles history. Davis' 34 home runs in 93 games would have led the Orioles in 47 of the past 59 seasons. … Infielder Jonathan Schoop (lower back) went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs in the Gulf Coast League on Friday. It was his second rehab game as he returns from a stress fracture in his lower back. … Right-hander Zach Clark has been assigned to High-A Frederick, where he will make his first start for the Keys on Saturday as he continues to make the transition to a knuckleball pitcher. Clark was pitching in the Gulf Coast League after rehabbing a hamstring injury. The UMBC product has pitched at five different levels, including the major leagues, this season.